Jan Přeučil

* 1937

  • "It's the failure of my life, to be honest when I signed to join the Communist Party. The situation wasn't exactly easy. It's absurd, when I was in the toilet and the director of the theatre, Dr Vodička, was standing next to me and said: 'We have decided that you should join the Communist Party.' Two days later I went to see him, and there were some other people there, and they said to me: 'For the running of the theatre, for the freedom of the productions, someone has to cover it so that it can be realised, unfortunately. I nodded. It was a great failure in my life, but it had one huge advantage. I was the head of the drama at the time and I knew to the core the depravity, desperation, insanity and rigidity of the Bolshevik mad system. That was interesting, I saw it from the other side, I was in various meetings, but on the other hand, I could shield a lot of things because I said, 'I'm a member of the Communist Party and that's the way it's going to be,' and it was saved."

  • "This was in a situation where the director said he had received orders from the city committee of the Communist Party that someone from the Na zábradlí Theatre must speak about Havel, and we were told to denigrate him. Director Vodička said it should be Vasek Sloup and Honza Přeučil. I went to his apartment, to see Dr Vladimír Vodička. (Sneezes). It's true, I'm sorry. He lived in the Old Town. I said to him, 'I'm not going to get out, Vladimir.' He said, 'No, it's necessary to do it, so that the theatre can exist, so that we can exist, it's necessary to do it.' That's why I said I would do it, and that's why I just spoke, as I knew Havel as a dramaturge and especially as a technician. Venda Sloup dug into it more. Havel was sorry, Vasek Sloup played one of the lead roles in his first production, which was The Garden Party. It was a very stressful situation and I tried to cope with it. As I said a moment ago, when I met Vasek Havel, he was not angry, he told me that the situation was like this, and he said, 'I understand.' A few years later we signed a petition for the release of Václav Havel from prison. I know it was the whole Theatre on the Balustrade. I was one of the first to sign it, I know that at that time it was reported by name by Free Europe. I met friends on Vinohradská třída at that time. They said to me: 'Man, you're going to be in trouble. Free Europe was one of the first to report that you signed a petition for the release of Václav Havel.'"

  • "That was an interesting situation. I met Vasek Havel for the first time at Divadlo Na zábradlí when they were preparing a production called Tro, which was a black theatre with short stories by the excellent Polish author Slawomir Mrozek and Ivan Vyskočil. We read short stories - Milan Neděla, Vlastimil Hašek, Emma Černá, Václav Sloup and me. Next to that, the black theatre was performed, it was interestingly intertwined. And because it was the first rehearsals and I had been brought up by Lukavsky and I was interested in the profession, to make everything perfect, so I called to the lighting booth at the Theatre on the Balustrade: 'Please, gentlemen, if you would be so kind, it would be good if there were not only hard light here, if there were orange filters to soften the atmosphere on stage. ' And there came a voice with a slight growl: 'Mr Přeučil, we have only a red filter, we have only one red filter here.' We became friends and became great friends."

  • "Look, it's a long story. We all lived our lives, we were full of energy, we were healthy and so on. But unfortunately, the Bolsheviks, the communists, were causing terrible situations, and that's the worst. That was during the period of normalisation, the breaking of characters and the breaking of people. To live a decent and pleasant life, people did many things against their will, to enjoy life and live it to the full. And that's the other side, the depravity, the madness of that communist system, the denial of human dignity, the denial of respectability, the denial of truth, the denial of all good things. And to direct everything in the sense that only the Bolsheviks are right. And that's why I'm very happy that everything turned around in 1989."

  • „I can see it like it happened today. I had a rehearsal on the day my father was released from the prison. I arrived with about an hour and a half delay for the rehearsal. It was in Stavovské Theatre. I arrived and said: ,Colleagues, please excuse me, it is rather awkward but my dad returned from prison today.’ They laughed: ,Ha ha, OK.’ There were renowned actors, Miroslav Lipský, Josef Bek, František Filipovský. They asked how long my father had been in prison, a year, two, three? I said that nearly fifteen years. There was a complete silence for a while. When the rehearsal was at its end, Josef Bek came to me and said, ,Jan, I made some stupid jokes about it, you know. But I know some good doctors in hospitals. Should your father need something, just tell me, I know his fate. He was a great hero.’ So, this was Josef Bek.”

  • “I joined ČKD to train for three years as a wood modeller. When I first arrived at the plant in Harfa, Prague, there was a member of the communist militia, the communist youth movement members and there was a notice, I can clearly see it now: We address one another comrade and say Labour be honoured. I went to the clerk and showed her my marks from the school. And he said: ,What are you doing here? You have all As. You should have gone to a grammar school or a technical school.’ I told her I could not go to a grammar school as my father had been sentenced with Milada Horáková. And then she said, ,Well, that is right then. You belong here.’”

  • “It was on October 10, 1949, a sharp sound of the bell in half past four. Five men rushed into our flat. My dad was handcuffed. I was sleeping in my room and saw through a doorway into the hall, where my dad sat on a bench. He had cuffs, a dressing gown and underneath just pyjamas. Five men searched through the whole flat. They took away some prints. I can remember that they took away our typewriter. After half an hour they led my dad away. The gave permission for him to say good bye to his family. I can still clearly see in my mind my dad coming to me. I was puzzled about what was happening. My father had handcuffs, he took my head in his hands, kissed me and said,

  • "I only learned after the 1989 revolution that the State Security had a Clown Bundle, alias Jan Přeučil, on me. But the situation arose because I married Štěpánka Haničincová in the seventies. She was my first official wife after a trial marriage. She was a tremendous lady, extremely popular, and we had a wonderful time together. She had two children, Honza Valášek and Sasha Haničincová, a daughter from her first marriage to Petr Haničinc, Sasha was a very nice fine girl, we lived in Vinohrady, where I live my life to this day, and I hope to enjoy it for a long time to come. Saška came one day and said she was in love, she was sixteen or seventeen years old, and it was understandable. She said, 'Mummy and Honza, there's a problem.' I see it like today. 'The boy's name is Jirka Chmel and he signed the Charter.' Štěpka looked up and said, 'That's not a very pleasant situation. ' What's interesting is that from that moment on, the rhythm of our family life changed completely, because Štěpánka, who was extremely popular, raised many generations, Bertík the devil, Kačenka, various fairy tales that we performed together, and we got to know each other during them, Suddenly she was in a different category, the television couldn't get over the fact that this lady had someone in her family who had signed Charter 77, I remember a situation where Štěpánka had her TV coverage cut and she took it very hard. "

  • "I felt a certain click on my phone, I was suddenly aware that the phone was being tapped. I felt that we were in the corridor of attention, that Stephanie, this popular person, and I as an actor have a daughter who has a husband who signed Charter 77 and they moved to Austria. It was a problem when we wanted to go to them for Christmas to even get permission. It's true that from time to time the Bolsheviks permitted us, from time to time we were allowed to go there, we got it for family reasons, otherwise, we wouldn't be permitted in any case. It's a fact that Stepanka took it very, very hard and had many deep emotions associated with that. And in the end, she was forbidden to appear on television. The only activity that Štěpánka could do was that we created theatrical performances and we went around the country with those theatrical performances so that Štěpánka could at least do some activities. The situation was so complicated that Štěpánka started to use a few pills and a few glasses of wine. And she left early, it was a shock for me."

  • "As far as I can remember, Jirka Chmel and Sasha and Alice and even little Honzik were understandably under a lot of pressure here. The Bolsheviks threw sticks under Jirka's feet because he was a Chartist and so on. So, they decided to move to Austria, to Vienna, and the Austrian party and society opened their arms to take care of them. When they told me and Stepka, we were not happy that the family was going to be separated. We said goodbye to them at the main station, Štěpánka was crying, waving to her granddaughter Alička, whom she loved. We didn't know if there would be any possibility of ever seeing them again. It was their free decision, they wanted to live in freedom, not in pressure, depression and stress."

  • Celé nahrávky
  • 1

    Praha, 10.02.2017

    délka: 01:46:21
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Memory of nations (in co-production with Czech television)
  • 2

    Praha, 25.08.2021

    délka: 01:44:58
    nahrávka pořízena v rámci projektu Stories of the 20th Century TV
Celé nahrávky jsou k dispozici pouze pro přihlášené uživatele.

My father instructed me from prison and was a hero for me

Witness as 18 years old
Witness as 18 years old
zdroj: archiv pamětníka

Jan Přeučil was born on February 17, 1937, in Pardubice. His father, František Přeučil, the owner of the Pamir publishing house and an MP for National Socialists, was arrested in 1949. He was sentenced for life in the Milada Horáková trial. His family had to move out of their flat. Jan was told at school that he must atone for his father’s guilt by becoming a labourer. He trained as a model maker, studied grammar school in the evenings and tried to get accepted to Theatre Academy (DAMU). Although he passed the entrance exams and had many recommendations he was not accepted due to his father’s imprisonment. He had to go to work in a foundry. Eventually, however, he graduated of DAMU. He became a member of the Divadlo Na Zábradlí. In the 1980s he joined the Communist Party, although he opposed communist ideas. He was convinced that in this way his life would be easier. He didn’t as the daughter of his wife, actor and host Štěpánka Haničincová,  married Jiří Chmel who signed the Charter 77. The family was under constant surveillance of the Secret Police and Štěpánka Haničincová lost her job in Czech TV. After her death he married actress Eva Hrušková and together they stage performances for children. Besides that he does theatre, TV and film and also lectures to students.